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Washington D.C. Military Law Blog

Special UCMJ rules apply for military drug charges

Military members are held to a different standard when it comes to possessing and using illegal drugs. While there are many drugs that are illegal for civilians to possess or distribute, it is not necessarily illegal in many states for civilians to be found with those drugs in their bodies. Military members, however, can face drug charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ, for testing positive for any type of drug that alters mind, mood, body or ability to function.

If you are a member of the military facing a drug-related charge, it's important to get the legal help that you need in order to secure the best results possible in your case. Working with a civilian defense attorney who is an expert in the UCMJ and specializes in criminal defense for military personnel is the best option. This legal professional can provide you with additional information about the rules and regulations within the UCMJ for military drug charges.

Court-martial dismisses assault charges due to lack of evidence

In several recent posts, we’ve discussed the benefits of consulting with a private law firm regarding sexual assault allegations.

One benefit of having a private attorney is the absence of any conflict of interest. Whereas a commanding officer is typically the first in the chain-of-command to be notified regarding an alleged criminal incident, a private attorney has no relationship with any of the parties. A service member can place his or her confidence in an outside attorney without any fear of reprisals or retaliation.

A private law firm can protect you after military sexual assault

In several recent posts, we’ve discussed why it is important for service members to consult with a private attorney regarding sexual assault allegations. A private, civilian attorney might not be subject to the same potential conflicts of interest as a JAG attorney.

A civilian attorney also chooses his or her private clients, rather than being involuntarily assigned to them as part of JAG duties. That choice is important, as a law firm that focuses on military law, like ours, can devote its full resources and advocacy on a military client’s behalf.

Court-martial results in death penalty sentence for sergeant

A court-martial is the military’s equivalent to a civilian criminal trial. For any readers that question the severity of penalties that might result from a court-martial, a recent story provides a stark reminder.

Specifically, an Army sergeant is facing the death penalty after being convicted for the murders of two fellow soldiers at a US military outpost in Kuwait. Although the sergeant petitioned for review of the case, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his appeal. That means that the conviction and sentence will stand.

Officials add sexual assault training to Academy's curriculum

Training in the U.S. Naval Academy has expanded beyond tactical maneuvers: Several weeks ago, the Academy hosted a sexual assault awareness training. The training included scenario-based questions, interactions between the audience and the military trainers, as well as role-play exercises.

The all-day program was jointly designed by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Justice. Notably, the trainers also targeted a broader audience than just military service members. A sexual assault victim in the military may consult civilian resources for help, such as a private law firm that focuses on military law. For that reason, the training explored ways to strengthen how civilian and military communities might better work together in responding to sexual assault allegations.

The Case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and the Value of His Defense Team

If you are a member of the military being investigated or charged with a crime, it is always best to hire a qualified attorney who can help protect your rights. Having a solid and dependable military defense attorney is crucial, especially if it is your first time navigating through the complexities of the law.

Getting Illegal Evidence Suppressed In A Military Criminal Case

The legal system continues to walk the fine line between prosecuting dangers to society and protecting our right to privacy. An 11-member en banc federal appeals court has ruled that while U.S. Navy investigators violated federal law in providing evidence in a child pornography case, that decision won't benefit the perpetrator. The 42-page opinion reverses a 2014 opinion by a three-member panel of the court.

Is a cultural shift required to reduce military sexual assault?

In our last post, we discussed the topic of sexual assault in the military, which made national news when it was mentioned by one of the presidential candidates. Although raising awareness of the issue is a first step, there must also be follow-through.

When it comes to attitudes about sexual assault, a recent commentary suggests that many Americans continue to regard the issue as a problem affecting others. The author of the article asserts that change must begin by recognizing the problem to be the responsibility of everyone, not just victims or perpetrators.

Sexual assault in the military a topic of presidential campaign

The issue of sexual assault in the military recently became a talking point in the presidential campaign. One of the candidates theorized about its underlying cause.

What our military law firm finds most notable about the statement is that it implicitly acknowledges that sexual misconduct is, in fact, a topic of concern in the armed forces. Regardless of partisanship, the publicity warrants a second look at some of the data.

Two Coast Guard cadets face courts-martial over sexual assault

Sexual assault allegations against two students at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy have escalated to court-martial proceedings.

As readers may recall, there is a chain-of-command in military investigations. A commanding officer often has the discretion on how allegations of misconduct or criminal behavior are handled. Not every complaint progresses to a criminal proceeding, for example.

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